Sunday, July 28, 2019

Mostly Food!

Hi Everyone :)

I hope your weekend is treating you well. I remember when weekends meant something more to me - a time to get away from the hustle and bustle...Well, I stopped working in 2003 due to burnout so I consider Monday to Friday my weekends and I hide away on Saturdays and Sundays to avoid the loud weekenders!!!

Oh burnout...not what it was a LONG recovery and I only really started to feel better in 2011 after suffering years and years of anxiety, depression, panic and physical pain that seemed to manifest from nothing. I still have my daily challenges, but I'm very grateful for my quiet country life with my pets and Alex. I mentioned on my Thoughts Blog the other day that I stopped walking the dogs in early July because there was a dangerous loose dog that attacked Jack. The owner was absolutely self-righteous so the police got involved. Once the law was there, there were fervent promises to tie up that dog...I hold no grudge against any animal, it's the human behind the incident that I don't trust. So I stopped walking my dogs out of fear, sigh. Don't worry though - Jack is okay. Marlene (to the right), the sweet, timid, insecure Marlene - WAS A WOLF protecting Jack, it was a little scary but I'm glad I have HER on my side!!!

My friends know that one of my most favourite, spiritual and healing activities is walking the dogs in the woods, so I was suffering depression for a while because I didn't feel safe walking in those woods anymore.

Yesterday I decided EFF IT!!! 😊 I went looking for a new spot and I found one! A very quiet road, one house only, no loose dogs and a rather barbarian entrance into the woods. There are old snowmobile trails there after you get through the thick brush to enter, so I walked the dogs there and I will continue to do so every day until the snow stops me! I have to drive about 10 minutes to get there and park on a deserted road (which suits me!) but at least I FEEL SAFE so life is happy again for me! :)

I also mentioned on my other blog that I've been suffering really bad sciatica that became unbearable lately. Sitting or lying down for more than one hour is excruitiating. I was told that I had to wait four months to see a doctor...REALLY??? Free medicare isn't all it's cut out to be, trust me. I decided to take my healing into my own hands. I am now on a gentle daily yoga program. I also have learned how to properly sit in my chair, my car and my bed. I do exercises a few time a day to help my muscles and joints and I hope that by Christmas, it will be either gone or at least manageable without pain killers. I refuse to let this conquer me. I think that stopping my daily walks made everything worse so I'm happy that I'm active again - seriously! SITTING is BAD. Wish me luck! I'll keep you all posted on my recovery!

So let's talk food!!!

Pizza-ghetti, with a new Puglia wine from Italy called Vanita Primitivo - mmmm! Puglia is my favourite region for wine!! The wines are from the Primitivo grape which was cloned and brought to the States to make their wonderful Zinfandels.

I started to pick the green and yella beans. I only planted 6 plants of each this year and they produced so many beans. I also picked some green onions.

I made a nice fresh Green and Yellow Bean Pasta Salad.

This picture is really bad but the dessert is's an ice cream sundae. I made a Cherry Coulis and poured it on top of vanilla ice cream and chocolate cake. (Cathy, it's such an easy recipe...and really good on ice cream!)

I had fun with this meal! I made a Roasted Tomato Soup with Pizza Twists! The pizza twists are messy to make, but they're really delicious and fun to eat!

To satisfy my sweet tooth...chocolate covered Oreos. You just melt your favourite chocolate and dip in the Oreos. I put them in the deep freezer to set. You guys know I'm not a fan of anything processed and I strive to make everything from scratch...but Mr. Christie sure does make a good Oreo cookie! :) (One fine day, I tried to replicate the Oreo and failed miserably!)

Thanks so much to everyone who has enjoyed the posts about the squirrels! They are out in the big wide world now. We do see them daily though. Algie and Frasier stick close to each other and we know it's them because they visit us together. Spunky - the most independent of the a loner, but he sleeps in the cage every night! (Alex has been watching with binoculars!) Here's a video of Spunky coming into the cage and taking a peanut! They are so sweet!

Spring Peeper - rare find this time of year!

Thursday's Art Date Theme is GREEN. Please click on the link for inspiration and ideas and I hope to see you then!! :)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Thursday Art Date: X-Ray/Negative Image

Hello Friends! :)

Welcome to Thursday's Art Date! Our theme today is X-Ray/Negative Image. I hope anyone who participates this week thought of this theme as a challenge, I know I did! When I started this art date in mid-May of this year, I wrote down a few dozen ideas for themes and I didn't think about how challenging one would be over the other. But I did find this one challenging.

Not the X-Ray part, to me that's an obvious one! And Dr. Bugs Bunny (PHD of Wise-Quacks) seems to know what he's doing! Do you think that Daffy agrees? ;) By the way, did you know that the round thing on Bugs' head is a head mirror? It's supposed to provide shadow-free illumination, once used to examine ears, noses and throats. I didn't know that, I just thought it was standard wardrobe in old movies! :)

I did another version of X-Ray in watercolours. Sea creatures through an X-Ray lens. But I wanted to find out more about negative space in art.

I looked up the definition of negative space and negative images in art and got the general idea that the negative space is the space that surrounds the object of an image - it's just as important as the image itself in defining your piece. I don't know if I got this one right, but I tried! :) As my friends know, I love fairy tales and I've done a lot of Red Riding Hood pieces, this one was fun. I painted this in acrylics.

As I was mixing my black and white acrylics to make a gray colour, I noticed a face in the puddle of paint, do you see it? Maybe this is also a great example of a Negative Image! :)

On the home front, we released the squirrels on Tuesday. Spunky was the first to leave the nest and it only took him about 2 minutes from the time Alex cut the hole in the back of the cage. He definitely had cabin fever.

He ran up and down the trees in the back yard like a pro!

Algie and Frasier though, seemed reluctant at first.

Within about 15 minutes they were all out, climbing trees and rocks and chasing each other around the woods. We are sad to see them go, but we are also so proud of them! We watched them most of the afternoon on Tuesday and they stuck close to the back yard, and all three very close to each other!

Spunky seems more of a loner and he wanders off alone. Algie and Frasier are always together still. On Wednesday we called them when we went outside and within about half an hour, all three were back in the yard running up and down on the trees. Once in a while, we'd see them hovering around the cage. How nice that they come when called! :)

I've had a little more time now that the squirrels are out on their own, so I was able to add two more Cheddars to my cheese making venture! We'll try the Cheddar I made last week in about 3 months, the wheel on the left will age 6 months and the other 9 months. At some point, it would be really nice to make cheese every few weeks so we always have a nice supply of Cheddar - it's the cheese we eat the most. I think my next cheese will be a Colby and then a Monterey Jack.

We've been trying to eat the fresh lettuce from the garden as much as possible before the slugs get at it. Last night I made a Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup with a Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons and Caesar Dressing.

Of course, we always need something sweet handy! :) I haven't made Cinnamon Crunch Knots in a long time, they taste just like a really good doughnut, I love this recipe!

Speaking of sweet things, Jack loves to groom Oscar - he licks his entire face, especially his ears. It's very cute and Oscar loves it! The video is only a few seconds...I need to get a longer one!


"Green Forest" (Acrylics)

August 1st: Next Thursday's theme is Green. Click on the link for ideas and inspiration! Remember it's all about creating. You can showcase your paintings, drawings, photography, sculpting, baking, poetry...whatever you like! :)

Thursday Art Date With Rain. Click on the link for a description of the art date as well as a list of upcoming themes.

Don't forget to add the URL link to your post (not your blog) to the link gadget below to share your wonderful creations! Please don't include a link unless you participate in the art date!


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Cowhide Jack

This is trust. :) While I watched a movie last night, Jack fell asleep on his back, showing off his cowhide tummy. :) When we first adopted Jack in 2015, he was nine years old, had been abandoned, had very intense fear aggression and would never let us pet his stomach ever. In fact we couldn't even touch his tail or his paws without putting a muzzle on him. It took a few years for him to really know he could trust us. He still growls and shows his teeth a lot, but we know it's all for show now and he is never aggressive with us anymore. He's a bundle of love, affection and joy! :)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Thursday Art Date: Yellow and Orange

Hello Friends! :)

Welcome to Thursday's Art Date! Our theme today is Yellow and Orange. I usually love those colours in clothing, but I think Bugs Bunny's golfing attire is a bit on the eccentric side! (And I don't think Daffy appreciates being his caddy!)

I had some fun with my oil pastels too, dreaming of my home in the woods on a hot summer evening! :) Our weather is really hot and humid and the skies are a beautiful mix of yellows and oranges in the evening, it's such a beautiful area - if only we could thin out the population a little! The condos in the village center are starting to go up - oh gosh we can't get out of here soon enough!!! Next spring!! :)

Watercolour Pumpkins and Gourds. Even though I adore the summertime, autumn is on my mind these days too! :)

It's been a big week! The squirrels are on their fourth day living outside - still in the cage though. Alex set it up on crates and put a tarp over the cage to keep them from getting wet if it rains. We still bring them food and water a few times a day and they are within sight from all of our windows.

We had an audience as we took the squirrels outside!

We check on the squirrels many times throughout the day, though Alex stayed outside with them the first day when it was really muggy and I think his mosquito bite count was over 25. The dogs love to watch them, but we make them all sit and be quiet so as not to scare them too much! The triplets have to get used to other animals around, and it's not such a bad thing for them to be nervous seeing the dogs, it'll keep them safe when they're living in the woods.

They were very nervous at first, sticking together in the little cubby hole where they sleep. But eventually they ventured out and started to check out the scenery.

This is their current diet. Nuts, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, apple peels and I saved all of the strawberry tops from when I made the jam. I keep them in the freezer and they just love them! We also give them a steady supply of pine cones, branches and pine needles which they really love to munch on!

Next Monday we'll cut a little hole in the back of the cage so they can come and go as they please. Wish them luck! :)

Here is a little video of Spunky finishing off a pine cone.

And this is Algie chirping. Squirrels chirp as a warning of danger, that a predator is nearby. Algie started to chirp when we took the cage out before we let the dogs out - poor little thing was scared in her new environment. Fingers crossed that they are able to adjust and do well when we let them loose!

In my last blog post, I mentioned the cheeses I made last weekend. For anyone interested, I finally got the blog post up on Rainy Day Cheese Making for this Cheddar Recipe!! :) It's now sealed and aging in the cheese cave for three months! I have plans to make more each weekend so we always have a steady supply. I'd like to age one for 6 months and one for 9 months also.

I also mentioned in my last post that I had a failed Cheddar because it didn't knit together while pressing - it was too dry and fell all apart. But it worked perfectly for Poutine with ice cream sodas!

Alex and I celebrated another month together with our monthly fondue night. This month it was Smoked Cheddar and Apple Fondue. I told Alex that once we settle in our forever home next year, he'll have to build me a smoker so I can make this fondue from scratch! :)



My lettuces seemed to have doubled in size overnight, so we'll be eating a lot of salad in the next week to make up for the heavy cheesy meals of late! :)

We finally waited out the sales on the sweet cherries and bought some to make Cherry Bounce and Cherry Pit Liqueur.

We found the Cherry Bounce recipe online at Imbibe Magazine. We made it a few years ago and it is SO DELICIOUS. It's made with cherries, sugar, lemon juice and rye whisky. Alex wanted to try using the pits to make a liqueur with brown sugar and rum and that also turned out well so we've made some more and they'll be ready for tasting in 3 months.


July 25th: Next Thursday's theme is X-Ray/Negative Image. Click on the link for ideas and inspiration! Remember it's all about creating. You can showcase your paintings, drawings, photography, sculpting, baking, poetry...whatever you like! :)

Thursday Art Date With Rain. Click on the link for a description of the art date as well as a list of upcoming themes.

Don't forget to add the URL link to your post (not your blog) to the link gadget below to share your wonderful creations! Please don't include a link unless you participate in the art date!


Monday, July 15, 2019

Cheese Making Weekend!! Jam, Pets, Garden and Squirrels Too! :))

Hello Friends!! :)

I have a lot of photos to share with you so I'll keep the yackity-yack to a minimum (although I highly doubt that is possible with me lol)! :) I MADE CHEESE!!! Not only has my overall MOJO returned, so has my cheese making mojo! The wheel on the left is a Cheddar that will age for 3 months. On the breadboard I made another American cheese and a Quick Mozzarella. I'll update this post and my cheese making blog this week with recipes! (

I guess I can count this one as the fourth cheese I made this weekend. It is a failed Cheddar. It never "knit" together during the pressing process. But lemons into lemonade right? It makes a FABULOUS curd cheese for poutine! :)

Alex surprised me, he made me a cheese press! I'd been using bread boards balanced precariously with bricks and my dumbbells before and my cheese never got pressed evenly. This one works like a charm! This one cost under $20 to make. (Please see my post on Rainy Day Cheese Making for instructions on how to make this press!)

Two of these ↑↑ equals:

All of these! We have plenty of strawberry jam for the winter now! :) I made half the batch with brandy too, that'll be delicious! :)

The green and yellow beans are almost ready to harvest!

My greenhouse tomatoes are starting to flower too!
The pumpkins are flowering!

Out of nowhere, I have my first ever green pepper, it's about the size of a baseball right now.

This was an experiment - eggplant. I've never seen an eggplant flower before, very pretty!
Spunky and Frasier
Sweet Little Algie
Today is the day friends...we are starting the release of the squirrels. Boo hoo hoo...Two weeks ago, we weened them off the bottle. Last week we weened them off the milk. We gave them nuts in shells and a lot more branches, pine cones and leaves to teach them that's how they have to eat. They have done SO WELL. But they have ants in their pants! Stage one is bringing the cage out near the woods (in our backyard) and leaving them there a week in the cage. We will still bring them food and water a few times a day and put a tarp over the cage when it's bad weather. The following week, we make an opening for them to come and go as they please - that's what I'm dreading but we have to let them "leave the nest"!!!

But these six will NEVER leave our nest if we can help it! :)

Baby Oscar: One pillow is not enough

Pretty Miss Marlene

Charlie (a.k.a. Charlita)  thinks she's hiding

Big Boss Leo - how dare I waken his slumber...

Wiley Dana - hard to get a photo of this one!

And the apple of my eye, Jack (a.k.a. Jackson, Jack Rabbit, Hound Dog Jack, Flea-Bitten Jack, Scooby Doo Jackson etc...) :

Thanks for stopping by! For anyone interested, please join me on Thursday for Thursday Art Date With Rain, our theme this week is Yellow and Orange. 😊