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It’s a Lentil Soup kinda day

I don’t know what it is about fall, but just about everybody I’ve talked to is making a big pot of Lentil Stew. I made this last week and enjoyed it so much, that guess what? I’m making it again. And mainly because I have all of this great kale and swiss chard and parsley galore that has been pretty much reseeding itself for years. I found this amazing recipe by Rachel Ray. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of her on our big family trip to New York one year. If there was anyone I would have wanted to see, it would have been her.

She is my hero. Pretty much any recipe that I try from her is filled with strong delicious flavours and good for you too.

All last year when I wanted my teenager to love me I would have a pan of Rachel Ray’s Cauliflower Mac n Cheese sizzling away in the oven when she got home from track. It was pretty much a sure thing that she would talk to me for a little bit as I was serving it up. She is off on a world adventure right now so I guess I am missing her a little bit. I always feel that it has been a good day if you make a pot of soup or stew and a batch of soap, which I did earlier today, so all is good.

Click on the link below for this easy recipe.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/sausage-kale-and-lentil-soup-recipe-2200991

our garden’s bounty
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In Praise of Pie

In Praise of Pie

What can be better than a pie made with only ingredients from your own garden? Rhubarb, apples — oh, I suppose the blackberries really weren’t from the garden, they were wild crafted with many adventures that involved not one but two near misses with wasps nests. Leave it to the man to step right into one… lucky for him I had a back scratcher (I use it as a hook to grab blackberry branches ) to beat those wasps off his leg. Another adventure that happens on any ordinary day out here.

What biological reason would a wasp have to make a nest on the ground where mammals walk? Unless it is fun to attack people when you are a wasp… another one of nature’s great mysteries. I did a little research on wasps and found out that they really aren’t that interesting. I guess that’s why kids in school always learn about bees and don’t have many tissue paper art projects that involve wasps. Although now that I think of it, it would be fun to make a paper mache wasps nest.

My daughter was sporting a retro style bee print outfit the other day, I rarely if ever have seen a retro wasp print dress. But who knows? In the future, we could come to worship wasps for their ability to clean up after us, which is really a good thing. Too bad they are so cranky when you step on them.

 

Here is his recipe—-just kidding, the man ( thank you again Frugal endeavours for this phrase) just threw in this and that and the next thing and it worked out fine, with a crumbly nut topping that was amazing!

fabricmill.com

 

Badboy the Squirrel and a Very Enticing Whale Vertebra

Badboy the Squirrel and a Very Enticing Whale Vertebra

Whale Vertebra with Deer skull

You might think one would get bored sitting staring out into a small front yard of trees every evening, but I am here to tell you this is not so. There are many things to amuse a person.

As many of you may know my husband has been a diver for many years. One of the perks of his job is the strange things he finds on the beach. This is an example of just one of these things. It is a whalebone vertebra from somewhere in the Queen Charlotte Islands or as he calls it “The Charlotte’s.” This whalebone has been with us for many years. Once when we were renting up on a property with a neighbour who had a fat old friendly dog named Baby—I came home to find Baby happily gnawing away at the side of this bone, unaware that we may get upset. We had put it in the front garden as a kind of ornament. Imagine the moment that dog came upon this bone. Bonanza! (For a dog)  We decided our best bet was to attach it to a tree where it would be safe from dogs.

Well, wouldn’t you know the other day we noticed a naughty squirrel sitting on the edge of it, nibbling away—scritch, scritch, scritch.  It certainly couldn’t still be flavourful after all these years?

Our young neighbour often talks to us through the garden fence, so when my husband was explaining this story to him as he was watering, he had to make up a pleasant child-friendly name for this squirrel.Thus the name Badboy. He is quite amusing to watch, slinging himself from tree to tree, often stopping to natter at us in a very high pitched way. He reminds me of the very naughty Squirrel Nutkin story by the author Beatrix Potter. He has all the same poor character qualities. He has been known to run off with our raspberries. And although I know it is nice to share. It is hard to share with this little guy.

Island Living-ya gotta be prepared

Island Living-ya gotta be prepared

As many of you may know, I just recently moved back to a little Gulf Island. And although I am enjoying my return, I  realize that there are many things that one needs to prepare for in order to live here.

It is not just easy living out here you know.

Here is my list of important items that you must have ready at all times:

  1. One must always remember to pack your berry picking attire and keep it in the trunk of your car if you are able. You must have an old pair of jeans, a long sleeved jacket…or shirt, something that will protect the skin of your arms… an old pair of runners, gardening gloves and a clean bucket or I like to use a big stock pot with handles. I also like to bring an old metal hanger bent into a hook shape. I sometimes throw in a pair of snippers to cut back big ol thick spiky branches that are in the way of the mother lode of blackberries. This is serious business folks. I often fill my deep freeze full of free antioxidant producing berries, enough to feed my family and what ever friends come over for the year. Next-
  2. For collecting clams and oysters. One needs on hand and at the ready, a good shovel for clams, a clean bucket… not the one for berries and an oyster knife so that you can shuck it on the beach and leave the shells behind. You must have good rubber boots and a little clean yogurt container ready to go at all times so you are ready when the tides are right at Brickyard Beach.
  3. For swimming… always have a little bag in your car if possible, with dry towels, a good book, (don’t forget your glasses), your bathing suit and old sandals in case you pick a barnacled beach. The man ( as the blogger of Frugal Endeavors refers to her man, instead of significant other)– says we must always have his metal detector at the ready…we would keep it in the trunk if it wasn’t so full… we may have to buy a van for all this gear.
  4. For the ferry lineup-a clean cooler with ice for groceries. Some water and some healthy snacks,  a good book ( don’t forget your glasses) and a ferry card that one of your children have probably swiped–so cross your fingers that there is enough money on it! Don’t forget to tape the schedule to the sun visor, although it will be memorized soon I am sure.
  5. For power outages— candles, matches, firewood, butane for the little cook stove—–buckets of water for flushing, a good book ( don’t forget your glasses) and of course…some good wine and a secret stash of chocolate to accompany those stories from the good old days, so you can talk into the wee hours as one tends to do when you aren’t distracted by modern technology.

I think that’s it. I love the feeling of being prepared for all these very important aspects of island living.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

photofest

Sometimes my mind goes down a complete rabbit hole, without any chance of finding sunlight. I was thinking this the other evening while watching my new favourite movie channel, Turner Classic Movies— that here is Joan Crawford, playing a woman who is being tortured by her former child star actress sister. But then I couldn’t help thinking of the movie loosely based on Joan Crawford’s real life, where she torments her daughter in the movie Mommy Dearest and I think, ahhhhhhhhhhh…. this is hard for my little brain to compute.You want to feel sorry for the sister upstairs in her old fashioned wheel chair… especially when a rat is served for dinner. But alternatively you can’t help but wonder, what did the actress do in real life to her daughter?

Ya know what I mean?

There is a fine line between truth and fiction I suppose. But I don’t think Joan wrote the part of Baby Jane, but still. Maybe the horrible story crept into her mind unsuspecting. and she became a psychopath.

I don’t know, just thinkin… I still recommend this movie though. Just for bizarreness factor. You almost can’t believe what will happen next.

And even if they tend to over act… it doesn’t matter to me, ’cause the ideas are so darn strong and interesting and of course, it is the first time they are done.

Unless they have stolen the ideas from Shakespeare. Which could have happened.

Over and out from a classic movie fan.

Click the link below to the 20th-anniversary edition book written by Christina Crawford.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/374671.Mommie_Dearest

 

The Marrying Kind

The Marrying Kind

Okay, you know from many of my blog posts that I am a classic movie fan. I recently came upon a movie starring Judy Holliday that blew me away. It is called The Marrying Kind. Darn those great screen writers. And great acting. This is when I wish I had another fellow classic movie fan to watch these movies with me. To laugh and ugly cry together whilst eating buttery popcorn.  And some of those lines that they wrote in those days— like when Judy Holliday says after a long day, ” this day has been about three days long!”

How many times have I felt this but could never figure out how to explain it simply?

Or when the couple sits around the breakfast table after fighting all night and are forced to sing the good morning song with their daughter. I laughed until I cried. Who hasn’t had a huge fight and tried to pretend everything was fine in front of their kids? It was moving and funny and I am still remembering clever bits an hour later. Each scene is brilliant in its own way. When the couple is rushing to go out to a fancy dinner on their anniversary and the couple’s friends arrive late to babysit, they see that they are completely drunk ( unfit to leave with their kids)  so they make the best of it and join them for a dance party in the living room…

Even though this movie was produced in 1952 I still think the major themes of what problems can occur in a marriage are as relevant today as they were then. There is nothing dated about the ups and downs of a family trying to make ends meet while enjoying the good times and enduring the bad. I suppose that’s why some movies are called classics.

TCM had a little blurb after this movie explaining why it didn’t do well in the box office many years ago. It was promoted as a comedy, which it definitely isn’t. But you will laugh and cry too, I guarantee it.

Just like life.

Brigadoon

Brigadoon

After a long time away from living on a small island I have found myself back and it feels strange. It is strange to recognize so many familiar faces everywhere I turn. I feel like I am in Brigadoon, this little town has stayed the same—stopped in time, if you will. On the ferry, there is the same man who steals your newspaper right out of your hands, the same man delivering a truck of water in the dry season, the same person selling you meat from the deli. And I swear there is that same spider hanging out in the same corner of the ceiling.

The ferry line up is long and the tourists are fun to watch and listen to on the long waits. They are easy to spot, expensive sunglasses and fancy sandals, standing in the front of the ferry, faces in the wind looking expectantly to the island, anticipation of a holiday in their eyes. They take shamelessly happy looking selfies with the mountains and the sea in the background and I think, yes come and enjoy the island, where nothing ever changes.  And while it is comforting to know everyone’s name, I still enjoy the animosity of a new car ( new to people here anyways), where I can drive down the winding tree lined roads without anyone recognizing me at least for a brief time— I don’t have to wave at anyone.

Although it feels that time has stopped, it really hasn’t. Some people look a lot older, classic older men with long white beards Rip Van Winkle-esk… walking in their faded tie dye. Some have packed up and moved away- as we did, to try and find better jobs in the city.

Some have died.

Time has a different meaning on this small island. I have to shake off my impatience as people stop in the middle of the narrow two lane road that winds around the island, to stop and chat —-holding up the people behind them. I have to learn that long waits are the norm, at the ferry.  You learn to make your own ice cream, your own pot stickers. Now I have to learn to make Pho and give up going to the movies… just to not have to take the dreaded ferry. It is fun to get people riled up here, all you have to do is say BC Ferries! and you can get a reaction. They have been overloaded all month! 45 minutes late each time! Is the lament that I keep hearing.

But I think an island like this should be kept the same- it is beneficial to keep the outside world from transforming us too much—we have to realize, it really is that dreaded ferry that is keeping this little island at bay from too much rapid change. Like that spell on Brigadoon.

And like Gene Kelly who returns to New York after leaving,  he just can’t get Brigadoon out of his mind. Gabriola too will keep you under its spell, and if you leave, you may have to return. Even if Cyd Charisse isn’t here dancing around Drumbeg Park with her long legs and her Scottish accent.

 

 Note from the author: I am taking great liberties with my memory of this old movie…. it has been awhile since I have watched this film and I am filling in the holes with my imagination.