Dear Teacher: What I Did This Summer…

The ultimate do it yourself (DIY… but with my handsome husband)!

We made a baby. We will be brewing / perfecting it til March 2013!

My sweety already gave me some great creative sewing and crafts for babies books, at xmas.

stay tuned.

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38 inspiring objects
# 12 our baby!

Thus the much less frequent blogging here and on my Daily Dose of Vinyl record blog all summer.

I essentially slept all summer!~ justfortherecords BLOG click here
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Should we Fry our Green Tomatoes or store them?

If you read my last post, you’ll know we’ve been busy beavers all summer. And you’d know we bought a house and we move in just 2 weeks! That said, I’m wondering about the garden this weekend trying to decide what stays, goes, gets dehydrated etc. During my luxurious nap this afternoon (after which my husband made me homemade wide baked fries and chipolte aoile- he’s the best, non?).. I did some painful and some helpful youtube research on harvest. I learned that green tomatoes can be cut on their stem, wrapped in newspaper and stored in a dark, cold box to rippen. I was also educated that they give off a gas called ethalyne  (spell?) and that rippens them. You can fake that chemical by placing an apple in the box or even hanging it by a vine of tomatoes to make them turn quicker. I will try the latter and let you know if that works, If not, I’ll be boxing a tomatoe and a cherry tomatoe plant next weekend!  This guy explains to it well and is easy on the eyes: 

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We bought a HOUSE!

38 Inspiring Objects #11     our HOUSE!

I know, so exciting right? I keep hearing the price is right announcer bellowing out “Corey & Jen… you have  bought a house! C’moon down!” lol. With much love and support from family OXOXOX we will be moving into our first house together as a family, on September 15th! It’s in Courtenay BC, in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. Otherwise known as “the big island”. We are stoked. I’ve already been taking paint swatches to bed and planning the move. But where will the craft room go? So that’s been keeping us pretty busy this summer. winks*

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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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It looks & smells an awful lot like marijuana but it isn’t…

 But it’s got the same effect on the cats. Cat Mint! Also known as cat nip in it’s dried form. The plant started out teensy and died in the house because they wouldn’t leave it alone. Outside, in the ground after 2 months ~it’s spreading! I’ve been pinching of the flowering tops so it bushes out more. Is that the right thing to do. Can a gardner comment and tell me?

I’m assuming the flowers seed and spread the plant but I won’t be here next garden season and want the plant to get as huge as possible so I can dehydrate it this winter! Lemme know please !

The cats love it!

What are you growing for your pets this summer season?

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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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today is the best day of my life

 

…And it started with getting my legs waxed. Go figure!

Life is pretty busy this week ~working 13 hours today ~ so here’s a quicky post. I love this image.
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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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Japan Tsunami ~Coast of BC Canada Beaqch Cleanup.

I’ve signed up already. Will you!? Please read this article. danke. xo. love your beachcomber ~Fireygoddess.

Volunteers sought for West Coast tsunami debris cleanup

CBC News

Posted: May 11, 2012 2:21 PM PT – click on the triangle to view an informative video.

Ocean debris believed to be from Japan is posed for a photograph on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C.
Ocean debris believed to be from Japan is posed for a photograph on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. (Jonathan Hayward/CP Images)The wave of debris from the Japanese tsunami that is starting to wash up on the West Coast has prompted a call for volunteers to clean up the trash.

The Vancouver Aquarium and the World Wildlife Fund are teaming up to recruit volunteers to pick up everything from bottles, to plastics, fishing paraphernalia to appliances, that is expected to wash up on North America’s coastline.   In recent months, some of the first debris that drifted across the Pacific has triggered international interest, including a container with a Harley Davidson motorcycle, some volleyballs that have been traced back to their owners, and even an unmanned fishing vesselthat was sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard.

But residents in Alaska and Haida Gwaii, which used to be known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, have reported that more and more uninteresting trash has also been washing up.

Making a list to be ready

The aquarium’s Jill Dwyer is in charge of a registry of volunteers needed to collect the junk, and she said people can sign up for the cleanup registry at www.shorelinecleanup.ca.

“We don’t really know when the majority of the debris is going to start hitting our shorelines, where it’s going to hit or how much,” Dwyer said Friday.

“What we’re doing is just getting a list of volunteers who would be willing to help when needed and then we’ll connect them with the site co-ordinator or the local people on the ground who would actually be organizing the cleanup.”

Dwyer said ocean debris could be harmful to wildlife if it contains chemicals or if animals ingest items or become entangled in them.

According to some estimates, the March 2011 tsunami washed between 1.5 and 18 million tonnes of debris into the Pacific Ocean.

The recruitment effort is separate from the annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, which has been happening across Canada every September for the last 19 years. A spring cleanup of shorelines involving students began in B.C. last year and has now started in Ontario.

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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things that grow down by the bog

There is a huge bog at the back of the property that in the winter looked desolate with no foliage. Now, it has a giant field of these flowers surrounding it. They are chest height with beautiful yellow flowers. And some bug friends. Flag Iris. Iris pseudacorus is a species of iris, native to Europe, western Asia and northwest Africa. Common names include yellow iris and yellow flag. Its specific epithet, meaning “false acorus,” refers to the similarity of its leaves to those of Acorus calamus, as they have a prominently veined mid-rib and sword-like shape. Iris pseudacorus grows best in very wet conditions, and is often common in wetlands, where it tolerates submersion, low pH, and anoxic soils. The plant spreads quickly, by both rhizome and water-dispersed seed. It fills a similarniche to that of Typha and often grows with it, though usually in shallower water. While it is primarily an aquatic plant, the rhizomes can survive prolonged dry conditions.

This is what exploded in a weekend and covered the topsy turvy plants, that we had to move. This a huge gorgous trellis that runs the length of the garden fence. Wisteria! Wisteria (also spelled Wistaria or Wysteria) is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family, Fabaceae, that includes ten species of woody climbing vines native to the Eastern United States and to ChinaKorea, and Japan.

This plant is also growing down by the bog. It is currently over our heads. I think it’s an African plant? Each leaf is approx 3-4 feet in diameter. Huge. In the fall we put a giant load of raked maple leaves on it for the winter.  I wonder if we can eat any part of it? Another bog lovin plant! wiki:     Gunnera is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants, some of them gigantic. The genus is the only member of the family Gunneraceae.The 40-50 species vary enormously in leaf size. Gunnera manicata, native to the Serra do Mar mountains of southeastern Brazil, is perhaps the largest species, with leaves typically 1.5-2 m (5-6 ft) wide, but exceptionally long, up to 3.4 m (11 ft), borne on thick, succulent leaf stalks (petioles) up to 2.5 m (8 ft) long. It germinates best in very moist, but not wet, conditions and temperatures of 22 to 29 °C.

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Gourmet Pesto Quinoa stuffed chicken breasts!

 oh Julia!
Yet another reason for YouTube~ to learn how to stuff a chicken breast. I had no idea. The above was entertaining & Julia is lovely as always but below is really helpful. Especially about putting the breast in a ziploc before pounding it! Smart. 

And what is the husband and father review? 

not the prettiest after photo, but you get the idea.

Recipe came from this awesome quinoa book.

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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.

The cougar

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“Fishing” and “whale watching”. Now that summer is here & I’ve begun participating in both activities, I’m giving the words a think.
I haven’t caught any fish while “fishing” nor have I seen any whales while “whale watching”. Yet here I am on the outside deck of the bc ferries commute from Quadra Island to my Campbell River practice/work ~ whale searching!? The sun is out. Isn’t that all that really matters? Can’t look overboard & type at the same time, while looking for whales. B-bye.

20120621-090746.jpg did you spot the whale?

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***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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Bacon Wrapped Corn on the Cob

That’s what I said. Is there no shame? BBQ husband extraordinaire (I’ve never touched the thing but that’s another story for another time) was handed a few items for the BBQ, when he arrived home tonight. I got the idea for this recipe from a podcast on CBC radio3 about summer and bbq’s and surf music. It was blasted all afternoon while I gardened.. see other post about today’s romp in the garden, in the sun. Then I looked it up  and found this recipe click here for foodnetwork bacon corn recipe We saw the potential for a seriously naughty yummy treat but our corn was not quite in season. It was motivation for sure, to try it again n season.

before

We also bbq’d up some some portobello mushrooms ~I made a garlic butter and sea salt scrub for them and marinated for 30 mins before the bbq master took them to meet their maker. I also threw together some Old Mill Cornmeal and niblet  muffins with feta~organic, gluten-free la de da. They were blah and really too wholesome without the butter, flour and milk. smerk*

PS. HAPPY 1st day of SUMMER! 

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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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spray painting anything that doesn’t move

Thank goddess no one told me how fun spray painting wicker was. I have urges to spray paint anything that isn’t moving.

Watch out cats.

I was supposed to be weed wacking the entire garden and yard all afternoon so instead I did this.   This 5 minute make over was super fun!! This one of those over $100  Ikea wicker chaise lounges, that i scored from Craigslist last year for $20. It got moldy over winter. So I hauled it out, brushed it off, sprayed her down in the sunshine and voila!

wiki: “In 1949, Edward Seymour added paint to existing aerosol can technology at his wife Bonnie’s suggestion. It was initially designed to demonstrate an aluminum paint he developed. Most aerosol paints also have a metal, glass or plastic ball called a pea inside of the can, which is used to stir (mix) the paint without the user having to touch it.”

BEFORE  SHOTS– with duct tape to fix under pinnings & Rust proof Navy Blue Spray paint from HomeDepot (cost $10 for 2)

 

THE AFTER SHOT – I used both spray cans for this one coat in the photo. I’m going to get another can to do the under pinnings and spot check the top. It dried instantly. PS. Lovely husband if you are reading this – I need your help when you get home from up north to re-do what i tried to fix with duct tape – likely with actual screws. PS. I’m also MAKING a roast with beer, in the slow cooker. come home. lol. xo.

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It seems I’m not the only spray paint addict. Check out the related articles below.

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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Related articles

raspberry zinfandel champagne!

Yes! It’s even better than it sounds. We home brewed the wine then took it to the u-brew to bottle a couple weeks ago (I’m drastically behind on posts). Did you know that you can take any kind of wine to get bubbled into champagne? FUN! and Yummy! AND… gluten-free. winks*

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baby robin eggs hatching ~ the videos

Here are the videos I have taken of the baby robin eggs hatching, in the last week. So exciting. I’m nervous for them to take flight ina couple weeks, I gotta say. These tiny iphone videos are pretty sweet. What do you think?

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