Homemade Blackberry Fruit Roll Ups !

“Are you gunna make fruit roll ups today”? Nope, that is not a four year old. That was my husband bugging me for the last few days. So yes. Today I took my first shot at home made blackberry fruit roll ups, in our new dehydrator (see bottom).

And here’s how we did it.
1. Pick a big freezer bag size of local blackberries from all your neighbour’s bushes. Prime time= end of August.
2. Clean and dry.


3. Make an apple sauce in blender just in case whatever kind of berry you choose needs thickening. Use the fruit bowl apples you hoped said husband would take for lunches but never does.


4. Put bag of blackberries in blender on low til they produce a somewhat thick syrup. Use juice if needed to get the blender goin’. Yum.


5. Mix apple w blackberries.


6. Pam spray roll up flat inserts. We did three.


7. Pour mixture on evenly. Lick spatula.


8. Turn dehydrator on to 130-140 degrees for 4-8 hrs.


9. Take out when leathery dry.
10. Cut to size. Roll. Store individually in seran and store in a Ziploc in freezer. They come out looking like photo #7.

38 Inspiring Objects

#10  the New Lee Valley Dehydrator.

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Our Day in Local Produce

Although we can’t wait to move off this overpriced tourist destination of an island, I have to say in the summer there is something to be said for leading a lifestyle based on the 100 mile diet ~ if you can. Yesterday Corey forced me off the couch to go blackberry picking, again. It’s an annual tradition with us, one that we swore we’d take more seriously this season. It’s a dangerous but yummy sport. Full chain metal clothing required. Three afternoons have been spent so far with a few more to go. What are we using them for? Our morning smoothies, beer & wine making, fruit roll ups, desserts.. you name it. I’m considering writing a therapy article entitled something like “The Couple that Picks Berries Together, Stays Together“. What do you think?

After berry picking we head to Fox road to our favourite EGG guy. I also buy handmade croched face and kitchen cloths from his daughter. Both items are found with an honour system for cash trade in this adorable fridge at the end of their farm driveway. The cat in the egg photo is a curious Salal (our cat).

   

As we drove back down the road we spot this… (dad will surely comment on the budweiser flat)

Further around the corner we see two red coolers with a “VEGGIES” sign. We stop and again on the honour system purchase these yellow beans and 6 hot peppers. What a hoot. Total spent for local produce in one afternoon? $6.50.Now I’d love to be one of those righteous “organic” (said with nose in the air) people that we are about to surround ourselves with on our next move in two weeks.. SEE BLOG TOMORROW ! but the truth is ~ from there we went and purchased a $30 pizza. Yes, that’s what I said. A $30 pizza at the only place on the island to get take out pizza. lol. And it was good. We finished our pizza and bottled a pinot grigio wine, in our rental bathroom for the last time. Quadra Island your days are numbered.

Zuke’s  and beans for dinner tonight, my creative blogger friends. Do you shop locally? Organically? I will be harvesting the garden & plum, apple trees and dehydrating herbs ~basil, mint and cat mint and cherry and roma tomatoes from the topsy turvy experiment in the next 2 weeks so stay tuned… And thanxs for staying with me.  xo. 

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Please don’t call me “strawberry shortcake” (just cuz I have red hair)

So the topsy turvy experiment (see previous spring posts) is in full BLOOM now! These things are amazing ~ idiot proof. Also- I just saw the containers for $20 each at Zellers.. and I got them for $2 each at liquidation world. Yeah me. And yeah sun! We have been enjoying a super red tasty treat of strawberries, now and then – no huge crop at once yet. I’ve rotated them monthly and water them nightly. Easy peasey. The bottom shot is the cherry tomatoe plant that is covered in little green gems. The regular tomatoe plant is maybe a week behind and twice the size. Can’t wait to have more tomatoes than we know what to do with!

Speaking of which… I treated myself to the deluxe Lee Valley Dehydrator ! I know, right? I even ordered the extra trays and the extra flat roll sheet for making your own dried fruit roll ups! Also exciting news n the growing front.. we have a pear tree. I thought it was plums because they had bums a few weeks ago. Stay tuned for pear stuff end of September! 

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Berry Picking is a Labour of Love *or* What to Do with a Kajillion Huckleberries?

It’s that time of the year again. So much fun to wander around the yard in barely any clothes and pick your dessert… or pick your smoothie ingredients for the next day… or? What do you do with huckleberries?

We’ve never lived where there are so many bushes of them, so we thought we’d give it a go this year. My Love bought an actual Berry Scoop from Lee Valley, when we there earlier in the month. It’s pretty amazing. Though, it’s still a labour of love separating greenery and bugs etc from berries and storing them. We just started tonight. My Love had to climb the cherry tree ~ they are ready but super high up! I saw a raven the size of an eagle in that tree today.  Competition is tuff. It’s not even fully salmonberry or blackberry seasons yet. See blog posts this time last year. What we also have on the horizon are three kinds of apple trees and a plum tree. yippee. Missing in these photos? Strawberries ~ we ate them promptly while picking.

the berry scoop !

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s anyone?

In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly uses the phrase “the mean reds” to describe her generalised anxiety:

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

I’ve been off the blog (& got back logged on my record a day blog) because we’ve been off line ~cruising around this wonderful province. The heat is here and we’ve got to get out while it lasts. Thats was one wet and long winter and spring, heh? Here’s a few snaps I took in Vancouver a couple weekends ago, while out playing. We saw Wimbledon Finals on the huge screen in 3D (thrilling and an new annual event for sure! federer is #1 again. All is well in the world), saw Spider-man in 3D (save your money ~it was medium at best), ate out,  ordered in (until you live remotely you never know how thrilling Thai food delivered to your door at odd hours is), shopped on Robson, slept like a king and queen in my in-laws incredible condo, had a Lee Vally and an Ikea visit (duh) and other fun stuff too. I love Vancouver. And I love my husband. All photos taken on my iphone, most while hanging out the car window. Some are from the Vancouver China Town summer night market. Can you spot my handsome husband in one of these photos?

 

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making my commute to work more creative

All photos taken holding my iphone out the window of my car as I commute from Quadra Island through Campbell River en route to my practice in Courtenay, on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

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beachcombing 101

We explored the top west coast of Vancouver Island for Canada Day weekend and it was OUTSTANDING! blogs and photos to come this weekend when i get a chance to process some stuff on here. yippee. I took some great travel shots. ‘Til then, here’s a comic that my sweetheart forwarded yesterday.

Happy almost summer (seriously c’moon sun!)

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adventures of my green thumbs begins.

I’m learning how to garden! I know, exciting right? Living in this glorious retreat ~ and by glorious I mean a whole lotta “free” work on our end while paying someone else’s mortgage… Anywho.. the gardens are spectacular, at last!  I’ve been weeding and cutting flowers for vases for both my therapy offices and for both bathrooms and the kitchen, in the house. Awesome. So I have spent some time photographing the progress and I thought i’d start sharing photos of new finds, researching what they are and anything interesting about them, how to close down stuff as it dies (we had this overwhelming daffodil bed by the front door that I discovered I was supposed to trim after it died off.. leading me to wonder.. do I have to remove the greens from all bulbous plants after they kick it? I dunno). *** see middle photo with the ends of the poppies. Do I dry them out in a paper bag all winter and plant that? or is it just the little dry purple hairs that I plant?*** THIS IS WHERE THE PARTICIPATION FROM YOU BLOG FRIENDS, READING THIS ~ COMES IN! Please comment below or send me a link? danke.*

I just like the colours and smells and the ambiance they bring our summer life now. lol. So I’m learning and thought you might like to witness my learning and contribute  a thing or three for my learning? oui? Let’s begin our adventure of my green thumbs together.

This weeks’ fav flower is the peone. Have you smelt a peone lately? Oh man. This is the flower to put in the bathroom that really makes a difference after the mano f the house does his morning business. And what a great name. Did I even spell it correctly? Also pictured here is my new fav summer drink The Orchard peach Cider. yum. And I managed a craft placement of my fish ice cubes! As well, my arms took a serious beating when I tried to pick the pretty pink roses that have sprouted up everywhere! eek.

More on roses another time, there’s several species here.

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Wrap me in bacon. And by that I mean ~ wrap bacon around everything*

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These were my contribution to dinner tonight. My sweets was out fishing today. So after I got more than enough sun, and by sun I mean haze and humid, not direct sun! ~I came in and prepped a side dish. He was kayak fishing on the ocean so I didn’t want to offend and make a meat dish in case the catch of the day was halibut! Bacon. Just the word posted beside the word halibut makes me want to try that now too. I used the crockpot and recipe book (wow, I’ve come so far in one year, eh?) to cut down on the fat quota but don’t worry these little bad boys were as bad for us as they were delicious. My husband was very pleased, indeed. No fish brought home, though many caught and cool go pro videos to go with them. He bbq’d ribs. oh my. Team work.

PS. on the bacon theme ~ said gorgous and sweet-toothed husband has a crush on the toffee lady at the Saturday Farmers market, here on Quadra Island. Oh yes, he does. She makes organic chocolates, truffles, toffees. Today he bought 3 bags of naughty. Bacon toffee & almond bark. He always buys the bacon toffee. Today she actually warned him to “take care of your teeth!”. Which I thought was cool. Perhaps she could give away toothbrushes too? No bacon shame.

***fish on!

It was a strong start to the fishing season, yesterday June 17, th, 2012.. Fathers Day. Yes! Johnny Cash week this week consisted of my dad, myself and my handsome husband on re -con of the Quinsam River in Campbell River, in Beautiful Bristish Columbia. With JC playing in the car, the sun trying to peek out.. off we went.

The stats? A few bites, nothing caught but a lovely afternoon on the banks of the Quinsam river, below the hatchery. Um, it’s gorgous~ just outside of Campbell River. Myself, I’m an ocean girl so I’m looking forward to the future “we have a boat days” (shh baby, I know, there there, we’ll get a boat someday!) ~the ocean sick days out on the pacific ocean swells. You can call me “Ginger” then. 

It was a lovely start to the season. Happy Fathers Day Dad, love You ~ Jenny Penny

A slideshow for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

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tried tested and true MEC

38 Inspiring Objects 

#8 The MEC Merganser tent and #9    the MEC thermos.

Both purchased pre-Haida Gwaii, during university days approx 10 years ago? Both in sort of mint condition still today! Used 2 weeks ago on our season opener camping trip on the west coast of Vancouver Island, BC. If you’re Canadian you know all about MEC. It’s an equipment co-op. It’s THE equipment co-op, really. Print catelogs no order exist so it’s all online at http://www.mec.ca I have lived remotely and in cities in Canada and always had a catalog at hand (& an Ikea one..lol). Their stuff is enviro friendly, lots of organics, durable, lasts forever and is all fully replaced if it ever dies.  These are just two of my fav oldest items from them. Happy to sport them again this camping season and picked up a few nice new MEC items this month as well – dresses, canoe foam racks, waterproofer etc. I swear photos of that trip will get posted this weekend! (some are amazing, if I do say so myself).

What’s your MEC story?

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Cruise Ship to work

This takes us calling the small ferry to the big island (on our daily commutes to work) “the cruise”  to a hole new level. This was taken from my iphone, in my car on the wee ferry headed back to Quadra. Usually they are doing the Vancouver to Alaska trip. This isn’t even close to the biggest cruise ships that come through here in the tourist season. Cool, though, heh?

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Just like I did when I was 3 years old & even more fun at 38 years old.

camping on Vancouver Island, BC. Exactly between the West Coast Trail and the Juan De Fuca Trail.                May 2012.

photo kinda crappy, sorry

Steps to make your very own shells in a  glass vase,  vases ( for your work side table or a table centre piece etc)

  1. Have your fantastic husband take you away on a “real” west coast camping adventure. Ours was all down the Juan Da Fuca trail, last week. Camping trip details to be blogged after I get back to work.
  2. Spend hours in the sun and mist just flipping over sea shells. Just like I did when I was 3 years old and even more fun at 38 years old.
  3. Sit by the campfire at night with some water and clean the ass smell or possible live mini carbs and sand off of your gems. Seal in safe storage for journey home. Just like I did when I was 3 years old and even more fun at 38 years old.
  4. Get that same adorable husband from step 1 to take you to Ikea on the way home.
  5. Purchase the three glass vases for under ten bucks deal as shown above.
  6. When you are home, alone, in the rain, by the woodstove~ assemble your shells lovingly into whimsical shell vases.
  7. Take them to work so when your clients are talking you are also daydreaming of flipping shells on a ” real” west coast beach.. in the sun.. with your super fun husband.
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Headed off to enjoy the west coast (of van isle)..Bob & Doug Mackenzie style

From my record a day blog.. As we head out on a great Canadiana adventure this weekend! Xo.

just for the records ~another 365 project

G’day hosers. This Mint condition piece of classic Canadiana comedy was the soundtrack to us racking some cider, in our bathroom. Sounds Canadian, oui? These two hosers filled two sides of a record in 1981 with their drunken, uneducated, hockey, ice fishing and beer banter. The Great White North. It’s embarrassingly endearing & reminiscent of my early years, growing up in London, Ontario. When SCTV was good TV.

wiki:

At least one million copies of the album were sold within North America, 350,000 of these within Canada alone which earned a triple-platinum certification from the Canadian Recording Industry Association.   The Great White North entered the RPM Canadian album charts at #3 on 12 December 1981 and rose to the #1 position the following week where it remained until 23 January 1982. Overall, RPMranked the album #40 of albums released in Canada during 1981. The Great White North peaked at…

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what I’m learning about Robin’s eggs & more photos

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I’m going to attempt to photo them every day. I’m labeling them day 1 realizing that I have no idea when they were hatched. TODAY I saw momma Robin incubating! Above are today’s photos of the eggs and the nest location on my craftroom porch. I feel a bit weird about this to tell you all the truth. I was vegetarian for many years then ate meat the last decade.. now considering switching back. The connection was not lost on me this morning as I was trying to crack open my breakfast hard boiled egg, with my fake nails ~ while editing bird egg photos. I love nature and plants and animals big time but I’ve never really gained the maturity about the death part of animals. *Kate ~ remember giving me the cycle of life speech at 20 yrs old when Salal cat brought the dead bat into the bathroom for me? *  Currently our 14 yr old aged dog is in his last “days” and it’s heart breaking. When I’m healthy enough I see that it’s all a  beautiful thing but.. what if the baby birds are dead when i hold the camera up there one day? or fall out of their best. Nature meets art, I digress.

The following article came from http://wwwlearner.org/jnorth/tm/robin/EggstaEggstra.html  

Eggstra! Eggstra! The Story of Robin Eggs

The main purpose of a robin’s life is to make more robins. Migration, territory, courtship, nest building, egg laying, incubation, and care of the young are all parts of the breeding cycle. These activities happen so robins can pass their genes on to new generations — and the cycle begins again. Here’s the story behind those little blue eggs and the natural instincts that let mom know what to do.

Early Birds Catch Worms, Then Lay Eggs
Most birds lay their eggs at sunrise, but NOT robins! They lay their eggs at mid-morning. That’s several hours later than most birds lay eggs. For robins, this makes good sense. Robins eat a lot of earthworms during the breeding season, and they use those early dark hours to hunt for worms because worms are most available before the sun gets too high. Robins lay their eggs mid-morning after feasting on worms. A robin can then fly over to her nest and lay her eggs easily, but most other birds seem to need a long period of quiet before they can lay eggs. Those other species can get a big breakfast even if they eat late because they don’t want worms anyway!

An Egg a Day is Work
If you think laying an egg is easy, think again! Robins lay only one egg per day for good reasons. Female birds have one working ovary, unlike mammals, which have two. Ovaries are the organs where eggs are produced. A bird’s ovary looks like a tiny bunch of different-sized grapes. These “grapes” are the ova, or actually the yolks. The one ovum about to be released looks huge. One or two are about half this size, a few more are a bit smaller, and the rest of the ova are tiny. About once a day, the largest yolk is ovulated. That means it pops off the ovary and starts traveling down a tube to the outside of the robin’s body. This tube is called the oviduct.

If a female robin has mated with a male, the yolk will become fertilized. If the robin hasn’t mated, the yolk still goes down the oviduct and will be laid like a normal robin egg, but it won’t develop into a robin. As the yolk travels through the oviduct, the tube’s walls slowly secrete (drip out) watery proteins called albumen to surround the yolk. Near the end of the trip down the tube, the oviduct secretes calcium compounds. The calcium compounds will become the eggshell, but the egg will remain a bit soft until it is laid. You can imagine why the formation of an egg is a tremendous drain on a mother robin’s body!

Stopping At Four
Robins usually lay four eggs and then stop. Like most birds, they lay one egg a day until their clutch is complete. If you remove one egg each day, some kinds of birds will keep laying for a long time, as if they can stop laying only when the clutch of eggs feels right underneath them. Robins normally lay four eggs. 

On The Nest
Until they’ve laid a full clutch, robins allow all the eggs to stay cool so the babies don’t start to develop. That’s pretty smart! It means all the babies hatch close to the same time. Mother robins may start incubating their eggs during the evening after the second egg is laid, or after all the eggs are laid. They sit on the eggs for 12 to 14 days. The female usually does all the incubating. Even in good weather, she rarely leaves her eggs for more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time.

It’s mom’s job to maintain the proper incubation temperature, keeping the eggs warm during cold weather and shaded during really hot weather. She also must turn or rotate the eggs several times daily. She hops on the rim of the nest and gently rolls the eggs with her bill. Turning the eggs helps keep them all at the same temperature and prevents the babies from sticking to the insides of the eggshells. Males only occasionally sit on the eggs, but they hang out in the territory throughout the daylight hours and respond immediately if the female gives a call of alarm. A male may even bring food to feed his mate, but usually she leaves the nest to feed herself.

Some birds, like hawks and owls, lay their eggs when weather is still very cold, and start to incubate as soon as the first egg is laid. The egg they laid on the first day hatches out a day before the egg they laid on the second day, which hatches a day before the third day’s egg. Therefore, the oldest baby may be a lot bigger than the smallest baby. If hunting is very bad and the babies are very hungry, the biggest may sometimes eat the smallest. The oldest baby leaves the nest before the later babies, too.

Sharing Her Body Heat
The eggs must be kept warm to develop. A robin’s body is 104 degrees F. or even warmer. Feathers insulate by keeping the bird’s body heat inside, and the outer feathers can still feel cool to the touch. That’s why female robins need a special way to keep their eggs warm. They have an incubation patch, or brood patch, which is a place on their bellies where their feathers fall out. A mother robin shares her body warmth by parting her outer feathers and then pressing her hot bare tummy against her eggs or her young nestlings. Outer feathers cover the bare area so the brood patch is hidden. (It’s a little like keeping the oven door closed so the heat stays inside.) Scientists who hold a female robin for banding will often blow on the tummy feathers to see if a brood patch is hiding underneath.

Many birds apparently sense the egg temperature with receptors in the brood patches. This helps the birds determine how much time to spend on eggs, and they can change their incubation behavior accordingly. For example, they may sit more or less tightly on the eggs, or leave the eggs exposed while going to feed or drink.

Fighting its way out of the egg isn’t easy for a chick. First it breaks a hole in the shell with its egg tooth, a hard hook on its beak. Then it must struggle with all its might, between periods of rest, to get out. No wonder hatching may take a whole day. The eggs usually hatch a day apart in the order they were laid. Naked, reddish, wet, and blind, the babies require A LOT of food. Now it becomes a full time job for both parents to protect the nest, find food, and feed the clamoring babies during the 9-16 days they spend in the nest.

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she’s got good eggs

Well someone’s been making a little something, haven’t they? These beauties are in a nest on the craft-room porch. Spotted today April 28, 2012 ~ I will keep a close watch on them and report back! Birds have been a big feature of my Spring on Quadra, as we have no cable. lol. I’m stoked to watch these hatch! From the hot tub, we spotted the momma heading into the nest.  And last night, I was prompted by my friend Berry on Haida Gwaii (via FBK) to buy the Audobon APP for $1 (usually $20 usually) as it was John Audobon’s birthday yesterday. I added it from iTunes and fell asleep learning that Robin’s are in the thrush family. Then today I spy Robin eggs!  In the hot tub I was sure I was seeing Robin’s mating and wondered if the App showed mating rituals? i’ll keep you posted. 

((PS. while writing this post – I had to get up and got outside to photograph a woodpecker on the large Maple Tree outside the window. On my way out I spotted a baby NEWT on our doorstep. Photos of those gems tomorrow. Jen-Geographic to the rescue!))

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tourist in my own backyard

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The Big Spring

The Big Year. This was a corny movie about birders but it had some whimsey and motivated me to photograph more of the wildlife in my yard. The eagle photo essay is from Rebecca Spit Provincial Park the same day. I haven’t taken so many eagle photos since living on the Gwaii. I’m enjoying my “old” SLR these days.

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Day 3 of the new feeder up & I have hummingbirds! I haven’t caught them on film just yet. stay tuned. lol. I hung a wild bird seed feeder low on a sliding door to torment my cats. It’s working. Yeah me. I’ve placed daffodils from my yard in each of my therapy offices & in busy rooms in our house. Now the tulips and lilacs are up. Double yeah!

Have you checked out     hornby island eagles live web cam and chat click here.

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a break in the rain beachcomb with my 2 fav guys

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good morning moon

A really impressive full moon ferry ride from Quadra to Campbell, last week.

 

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the Mexico Sign

front

the back of the sign

38 Inspiring Objects

#6 of 38

the MEXICO sign  was originally created for a roadtrip around The Breton trail Cape Breton, Canada. It was a cold April weekend when we set out to honour our favourite movie at the time NEWWATERFORD GIRL. I’ve mentioned it before on this BLOG and included a youtube video clip of the trailor ~ but if you haven’t seen it ~ it’s a Canadian GEM! The sign is featured in the first 5 mins of the movie. We recreated it between my best friend and I when we moved across the country from one another. Every time one of us travelled over a period of a few years, we mailed it,  took the sign and attempted to photograph it in different locations. As seen below Kate in Newfoundland and in Cape Breton. A newer version was created for my  wedding in MEXICO a year ago, next month. The original version arrived this xmas 2011 to BC, in my xmas package from Nova Scotia. Where will it go next? It’s for sure an inspiring object. Thanks Kate, love you.  

    

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winter storm walk scores

My 13.5 year old,  young dog and I hit the beach today. What better thing to do on a dark, rainy, windy afternoon ~when the weather has basically sucked for 2 weeks? Hit the beach! Here’s some photos of what we found and where we went. Wonder what I’ll make with these? Suggestions? 

my Amos! 

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Image

she said “weineer”. Cocktail weineer, that is. (or) I know how to spell weineer.

38 Inspiring Objects

3. Cocktail napkins.

I’ve managed a collection of these over the years, mostly as gifts. They decorate any occasion with the just the right amount of cheek. Here are a few that currently sit in our antique bar wardrobe..

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how to make an IKEA raincoat

wow!

You KNOW I love IKEA! And you know it’s storming crazy here.. today and for the next 8 months! Those of us that admit our love for IKEA admit we’ve got these blue bags floating around with camping  gear stored in them, in our SUV’s or we use them as laundry bags.

What do you do with yours? Check this out ~ from over at Instructables.com

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-an-Ikea-Raincoat/?ref=nf

 

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whale farts & squeals

taken tonight from the shore out front

Five hours of whale action this late afternoon / sunset. Spectacular. They made so much noise. I was down at the water’s edge, with my feet in… about 800 meters away. I cant believe I don’t have a video camera. More photos to come but here’s a sneak peak. They were still there after it got black & hearing them in the dark was almost scary. They squealed ad farted and blew some loud air.

I’m totally committed to getting in the kayak if they return.

3 days of whale awesomeness.